Brunck, Richard Francis Frederick

, a celebrated Greek scholar and critic, a member of the inscriptions and belles iettres, and of the institute, was born at Strasburgh, Dec. 30, 1729, and died in that city June 12, 1803. Of his history no detailed account has yet appeared in this country, as far as we have been able to learn. We are only told that he was first educated in the college of Louis le Grand at Paris, and that having afterwards engaged in the civil administration of affairs, he had long neglected the cultivation of letters, when, in the course of the campaigns in Hanover, he happened to lodge at Gie^sen, in the house of a professor of the university. With him he read several Latin and Greek authors, and was soon inspired with a great predilection for the latter language; but the most remarkable particular is, that some time before his death he lost on a sudden all taste for the critical and classical pursuits which he had followed so eagerly and successfully for upwards of half a century, and this without any visible decay of his powers either intellectual or physical. Yet, such was the change, that he totally abandoned all study of his favourite Greek, and could not be prevailed upon to cast even a glance on any of his favourite authors, nor did he appear to take the smallest interest in the discovery of a manuscript of Aristophanes, which happened to confirm the greater part of his notes and conjectures on that author, a circumstance, which, at any other period of his life, would have excited his warmest enthusiasm. The works for which the learned world is indebted to his pen are, 1. “Analecta veterum Poetarum Graecorum,” Strasburgh, 1772—1776, 3 vols 8vo, reprinted 1785. There is also a quarto edition. 2. “Anacreontis Carmina,” ibid. 1778, 12mo, and 1786, beautiful and accurate editions. 3. “Æschyli Tragcedioe, Prometheus, Persae, Septem ad Thebas: Sophoclis Antigone: Euripidis Medea,” ibid 1779, 8vo. 4. “Sophoclis Elettra, et Euripidus Andromache,” ibid. 1779, 8vo. 5. “Sophoclis Oedipus Tyrannus, et Euripidis Orestes,” ibid. 1779, 8vo. 6. “Euripidis Tragediae quatuor, Hecuba, Phcenissa?, Hyppolytus et Bacchae,” ibid. 1780, 8vo, with illustrations from a Parisian ms. an excellent edition. 7. “Apollonii Rhodii Argonautica,” ibid. 1780, 8vo, the notes and emendations more valuable than those of any preceding author, but Brunck is accused of employing conjecture rather too freely. 8. “Aristophanis Comœdiæ in Latinum Sermonem conversæ,” ibid. 1781, | 3 vols. 9. “Aristophanis Comcediae ex optimis exemplaribus emendatae,” ibid. 1783, 8vo, and 4to, containing the preceding Latin translation and notes and emendations, one of the best editions of Aristophanes. 10. “G-nomici Poetae Graeci,” ibid. 1784, 8vo. 11. “Virgilius,” ibid. 1785, 8vo. 12. “Sophoclis qua; extant omnia, cum veterum Grammaticorum scholiis,” ibid. 1786, 4to, 2 vols. and 3 vols. 8vo, 1786 9, an edition of acknowledged superiority and value. 13. “Plautus,” Bipont. 1788, 2 vols. 8vo. 14. “Terentius,1787, from the press of Dannbach, but Mr. Dibdin mentions a Basil edition of 1797, said to have been superintended by Brunck, and printed in the same manner with his Virgil of 1789. Brunck’s enthusiastic admiration of the authors he edited was such, that he conceived their writings to have been originally immaculate, and therefore attributed to the copyists whatever errors he discovered. He is, as we have noticed, accused of taking some bold freedoms in the restoration of what he conceived defective, but he was more remarkable for this in the notes which he wrote on the margins of his books, and the manuscript copies of some Greek poets which he left behind him. Of Apollonius Rhodius only he wrote out five copies. 1

1 Dict. Hist.Saxii Onomast. vol. VIII, -Dibdin’s Classics.